Parents' Guide to

Flying Solo

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Funny, real, and powerfully moving.

Flying Solo Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 12+

Heartwarming but Questionable Language

The book has the characters going through different tough life issues. They are honest, personal, and heartwarming in their relationships and growth. As an educator for elementary grades, I do not appreciate the language. Realistic, yes, but not what I would want my students to be influenced by. They are constantly saying "shut up" to each other, call each other names, a character described another character as one who told dirty, nasty jokes, and a character described their situation like an unloaded gun that would end up killing them. There's no swearing in this book, true, but the language used causes it to be not be appropriate to assign to students unless they are in middle school or older.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 9+

Character is how you act when nobody's watching

Great book. Gives a great message about character. Also teaches a bit about grieving death. A day in the life of kids with no teacher.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (8 ):

Ralph Fletcher teaches writing, and he teaches teachers how to teach writing; here, he shows that he knows what he's talking about. Written in simple language, this is a tour de force with an emotional climax and some big questions left at the end for readers to wrestle with.

The children in this class are vividly alive, each a three-dimensional person with strengths and faults, all of which will be recognizable to child readers. As they bicker their way through the day they achieve, almost in spite of themselves, something they're proud of, though their parents and school are horrified by what they have done. Though the teacher, Mr. Fabiano, appears only at the end, his presence is felt on every page -- it's a portrait, both brilliant and realistic, of a truly gifted teacher. Funny, real, and powerfully moving, this exceptional novel will leave both students and teachers with a lot to think about.

Book Details

  • Author: Ralph Fletcher
  • Genre: School
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Clarion Books
  • Publication date: September 21, 1998
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
  • Number of pages: 144
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate